In this segment of our Stories from the Couch, our employees share short stories about how they’re staying positive and grateful in a virtual environment.
In these times of uncertainty, where working from the couch is common and staying at home is the new norm, everybody is looking for an escape.
Stories provide that escape by helping us cope with change, capturing the bright side, giving us inspiration, and drawing on our human connection at a time we need it most.
We wanted to provide our friends, families, colleagues and clients that kind of support, so we asked our employees to share how they’re staying upbeat, what moments they’re leaning on for comfort, and what they’re most grateful for in this environment.
Short Stories on Staying Positive
Find The Fun In Twitter
Turns out I had it all wrong. For years, I relied on Twitter exclusively for business purposes — event announcements and crisis communications. I had formed an impression that personal Tweets were mostly the domain of complainers, politics, and bullies.
The turning point was a conversation about staying positive with a coworker, and her share of Tweets around #After3weekswithmyfamily. A long laugh was just what I needed as a break to missing contact with friends and family.
That led to discovering Jimmy Fallon’s #QuarantineAMovie and various funny tweet compilations on all kinds of topics. Turns out, if you look in the right places, Twitter is full of brilliant, funny, and insightful “average” people.
Being able to find humor together, even if together is only through social media, gives me a quick daily boost of optimism.
And if you see my husband Tweeting “I’m worried: my wife keeps laughing to herself,” you’ll know the truth. #After5weekswithmyfamily
— Jennifer Allain, Marketing Strategist for National Marketing, Belgrade, MT
See The Good In Every Day
Even before our kids were born, we kept “memory boxes.” Actually, that’s probably overstating it. They are really just big plastic tubs where we threw things we didn’t want to throw away but didn’t know what else to do with.
Then the kids came, and with them an endless stream of scribbled pages, then crudely drawn letters, then versions of their handwritten names. Then hand-made birthday cards, then poems and stories, then letters from camp, and of course photos, photos, photos!
All of it went into the boxes, and the boxes went into the basement, until one Sunday afternoon during COVID-19. We hauled the boxes up and spent a day sorting, laughing, crying … it was magical.
Even our crabby teenagers got into and developed filing systems. Afterward we vowed that when the quarantine is over, our first trip will be to an office supply store to find big metal fireproof boxes to become our memory boxes, because we can’t stand the thought of all this stuff being lost in case of fire.
If there’s one thing COVID-19 has taught our family, it is to hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and look for the good that happens every day and in everyday things.
— Tim Fox, Content Specialist for National Marketing, St. Louis, MO
Pile On Miles Of Joy
As a Yogi who prefers hot yoga, I’m greatly missing my studio practice and community. I used hot yoga to help me physically and mentally unwind from all that ailed me.
I’m still doing yoga, but without the heat, it’s not challenging and my mind isn’t shutting off.
So I turned to our Centric Runners channel on Teams and asked the group for tips as I looked to start running again. It’s been a few years since I was consistently running. They immediately jumped in with app ideas, excellent coaching tips and encouragement.
Two weeks into this, I’ve got a great app and over 20 miles under my belt. I finish each run reminded of the true joy that comes with completing this challenge and a new physical release I needed to help me cope with my new norm.
It’s easy to rely on our Centric team for work; I love it when they pile on the good for your personal needs, too.
— Raquel Richardson, Senior Manager in Indianapolis Practice, Indianapolis, IN
Soak Up Quality Time
During this quarantine, I am reminded about what is most important for my children, and that is time, specifically my time and my husband’s.
I have two daughters, Violet, 8, and Anna, 5. As adults, we are worried about the state of the economy, our loved one’s health, our own health, and what the future holds.
However, my daughters believe this to be the most fantastic time. They have no school, barring some at home school work, and mom and dad are both home all day.
We had to cancel our Florida vacation. My husband and I were anxious to tell them that we were no longer going.
However, when we did, our oldest said, “That’s okay mom, I just want to be home with you.” Our youngest said, “But what about the candy store?” There is a candy store on the island that they love. I explained that we could pick out candy online and have a movie or game night instead. She said, “Oh, that’s way better.”
Younger kids want our attention and time, and although that can be frustrating when we are trying to work, we can’t get that time back. I’m sure older kids, especially teenagers, don’t want to hang with their parents, but this unprecedented time has allowed me to soak up my kids a little longer, and I’m appreciative of that.
Now, I’m going to go sign off and spend some time playing “airplane” with my girls.
— Traci Whetzel, Salesforce Practice Lead, Cleveland, OH
Shift Focus To Others
I’m choosing to see this as an adventure. We are living in unprecedented times that will go down in history, and what we do with what we are given now will set the precedent for future generations.
One of the habits of highly effective people is to only truly worry about those things that are within your realm of control. Anything beyond that creates undue stress. Our new normal is my reality whether I want it to be or not, and it is outside of my realm of control.
What I do have control over, though, is my response – and I am going to make the most of it. One of the ways I can do that is by focusing on what I have to be grateful for and taking the focus off of myself and putting it on others.
I get one life to live – how can I enrich the lives of those around me who also only get one shot at this? By taking the focus off myself, I remove anxiety, fear, and selfishness that all contribute to stress about something I have no control over.
— Natalie Bullock, Manager in Cincinnati Practice, Cincinnati, OH
Slowing Down Brings Us Closer
In a world where it feels like everyone is constantly moving at a million miles a minute and you have to make plans two whole months in advance to see anyone… we’ve all been simultaneously been brought to a screeching halt.
As challenging as this historic moment is, I find solitude in knowing I’m not going through it alone—and I have enjoyed opportunities to connect in a more meaningful way with family and friends.
Suddenly, those who had drifted away are now just one phone call away for stories and laughter. Game night has become virtual, and a new level of competitiveness has emerged.
Instead of scrolling through Netflix trying to find the next best thing to watch, I’ve found my time occupied with video calls almost every single night of the week. From past co-workers, to childhood friends and family, we’ve all reconnected on a deeper level during these unknown times.
When life resumes, and it will, my hope is that we all remember the time where we found the positive aspects of slowing down—a time when we essentially had no choice but to prioritize relationships if we wanted human connection outside of the people in our own homes.
As hard as this period has been, it’s served as a great learning lesson and reminder that life is fleeting and precious. I’ve learned that even when life seems too busy, we have all the resources at our fingertips to be able to connect with our loved ones, even if only for a moment.
— Salina Ellison, Senior Consultant in Seattle Practice, Seattle, WA
Dance, Laugh and This Too Shall Pass
I’m most grateful for the health of my nuclear family. It’s not lost on me that many are facing unprecedented health challenges for themselves or their loved ones.
I consider health and time life’s two greatest assets and despite all the uncertainty around me, I have so much to be grateful for with my husband and children being healthy and being gifted with more time together as a family.
That extra time has led us to create a new family tradition: Dance parties. It’s how my family stays positive. Having a tough day? Turn on some Ed Sheeran and get your kids to have a dance party with you. It changes the entire mood of our household.
I recently heard someone say “I’ve survived 100% of my hardest days.” I thought this was an excellent perspective to keep during any challenge life throws at us. It’s comforting to know this will pass eventually.
Leaning on friends, family and coworkers for support when certain moments or days are tougher than others helps them pass faster. We’re all in this together, so staying connected helps keep me positive.
The moments that keep me most sane are those spent laughing. Whether it’s a funny meme, a sarcastic comment made by myself or a coworker or something silly my kids are doing, laughter is always the most comforting to me during times of high stress.
— Jennifer Jackson, Campaign Manager for National Marketing, Spring Hill, TN